Sudan’s transitional government is walking a tightrope as it seeks to revive an ailing economy while shielding citizens from the shocks of inflation through subsidies.
Khartoum passed the country’s post-revolution budget last week with a $1.62 billion deficit and while budgetary proposals indicate increased spending on education and health, leaders haggle over what to do with subsidies on basic commodities.
Former president, Omar al-Bashir’s administration ran the economy with subsidies on gas, fuel, essential medicine and wheat but Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s government, faces a test on whether to continue with a similar strategy, amend the subsidies or abolish them altogether.
Hamdok has hinted at direct cash disbursements to the poor to cushion them from the effects of ending subsidies.
But the proposal to abolish subsidies was opposed by the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC), a coalition of activists and former rebel groups whose continued protests saw the departure of Bashir.
The final budget dropped the idea to abolish subsidies, for the time being, with leaders say the final decision will be made at a national dialogue forum due in March
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